Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Less Knowledge Can Lead to Improving

When I played in the BCAPL Nationals Master's Scotch Doubles event in 2010 in Las Vegas, my partner was a mere 25 years old and one of the top one pocket players in the state of Texas.  I was 15 years older than him, but he was much more experienced at pool than I was.  His name is Sylver Ochoa and he had been playing one pocket for over 10 years or so and so he was very knowledgeable and talented about all the games of pool way younger than I ever was, lol.

What I learned playing scotch doubles with him (read my blog report of that tourney here) was just how unknowledgeable I was about 8 ball/patterns, lol.  You'd think that is a negative thing, but eye-openers are not usually a negative thing, right?

You see, after the break, he would walk up to the table, look at the layout of the balls, and then almost immediately know the best pattern for a run.  He saw the whole table so much more differently than I did.  I walk up there, and then stand up there wondering what should I shoot next for him, or how to get on the next ball.  He instead saw the patterns for the entire rack.

Don't get me wrong, I knew strategy of 8ball well, and so we played really well together and actually beat a lot of tough teams.  I had enough experience under my belt to know when to run out and when not to.  But it was the obvious patterns I still lacked quick knowledge of.

I realize that his top skills, fast improvement, and becoming a top pro player quickly at such a young age allowed him the luxury to see the layout of an entire 8 ball layout much easier than I did.

But it was still so impressive to witness him almost automatically see/recognize the proper pattern to  connect each ball naturally to run out.  At one point, I wasn't sure if I should have shot the 7 ball or the 6 ball, and his response was so obvious lol.  "You make the 7 first because that naturally connects to the 6 ball which then sets you up for the 2 ball and that will lead you easily to the 8ball.

pffft.  "easily."  Whatever, dude.  lol

As you know, there are a ton of different ways to run out 8 ball; there are so many choices!  But he saw the "correct" paths and connected the proper pattern to each ball so well and quickly, that it really proved to me I needed to work on my patterns lol.  It was a great experience to find out I had so much more to learn about pool!


Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Perceptions During a Match

I'm sure you have heard this before where two people see or hear different things even though they both saw/heard the same thing?

Similarity, when people witness one situation (like a car accident), they all kinda reflect differently about what they saw.

Another example is if you go to a doctor's visit with a family member.  You each hear something different from the conversation with the doctor.  It's really very normal.

And of course this also carries over into pool, too.

Case in point.  I remember distinctly playing against a friend a mine from Arkansas during the Champion Stop of the Texas Ladies Tour about 8 years ago or so.  I barely got to shoot!  I only had a few chances and the biaatch kept running out!  I was pretty agitated, lol.

Afterwards, I told her, "Man, you played so good - you barely missed!"  And she lamented, "Thank you.  I didn't think I played all that great, but appreciate the kind words."

I was kinda stunned - how did she think that when I hardly got to shoot the entire match and she kept running out?

Back then, one of the guys would attend the tournaments and video tape some of our matches (we affectionately called him "Video Mike").  And we happened to have that match recorded.  I bought a copy of the video and watched the match when I got home and I was STUNNED.

She didn't run out one game!  I had plenty of chances!  I just didn't play well and she played better, but she missed a lot too.  How in the heck did I think she ran out most of the match?

But, this happens all the time to players, lol!

As a Tournament Director, I not just run a tournament, but I get to watch a lot of the matches because of where the Tournament table is normally located.

And almost once a tournament, some player will come up after they lost and lament in a loud voice to me, "That guy never missed!"  And I stand there thinking to myself, "Hmmm, I just watched the match and you both missed quite a lot."

The player will go on, nipping at me about his opponents' handicap, "That guy shouldn't be a 5 - he was ran out every time I missed!  That's not a 5.  Fives don't play that good!"

But, I simply realize that they witnessed something different than what actually happened.  Part of the reason is emotions, as we don't see clearly or think clearly if we are upset.  But, the other factor is we all simply don't always see the same things, even if we are involved in the same situation.

So, I didn't usually rush to change someone's handicap based on one player who just got beat, because it's usually not what they really experienced, lol.


Monday, November 5, 2018

Special 10-Ball Helmet

This is my little friend Ezekiel! (Zeke for short):


Ezekiel is the beautiful boy of Nicole and Joseph, who was born Jan 10, 2018. 

I asked Joseph about Zeke's cool 10-ball helmet.  No, no, he's not getting ready to ride his bike into the sunset with a new girlfriend, haha!

Joseph shared that basically nowadays they recommend babies sleep on their back.  At 3 months, they noticed the back of Zeke's head was really flat.  They moved him from rocker to basinet and from 3 to 6 months, no matter what they did, he would always sleep on his left side.  Joseph shared, "Move him, he would move back. lol"

The result was a flat head on the back and left side, and they also noticed his ears were uneven "by a lot."  Zeke was diagnosed with Plagiocephaly.  It's actually a very common problem, and some fix on their own, some do not.  Nicole and Joseph decided (rather than hoping it would correct itself), and "knowing how mean kids are, we didn't want him getting teased about his head shape," to look into options.

So, they got 3D images and a custom DOC band made.

For those like me who don't have kids nor around kids:
"The DOC Band is the only custom cranial helmet with nearly 35 years of documented outcomes. It’s been used to safely and successfully treat more than 175,000 babies with moderate to severe plagiocephaly.  Each DOC Band is custom made using our state-of-the-art technology and one-of-a-kind manufacturing process to ensure it delivers the best possible outcome for your baby."

He will wear his helmet 4 to 6 months, 23 hours a day.  And Zeke will have head band adjustments done every 2 weeks to evaluate his progress.


Then one day they were eating out for Nicole's birthday dinner and having an awesome conversation about billiards with their server.  Turned out their server (Brandon) also loves pool and Joseph shared information about the tournament scene in and around Houston during their dinner.  Joseph used to play on the Omega Tour here in Dallas / Fort Worth and he's still on the pool scene down in Houston and many other places when he travels.

Joseph and Brandon would soon become friends on Facebook and that's when Brandon also started to ask questions about the DOC band.  Then he asked if he could decorate it, as he is an artist.  Because it has to be worn 23 hours a day, doing awesome detailed art work was not an option, but Nicole and Joseph had already agreed what they wanted.  Because he is a pooloholic and Zeke was born on Jan 10th, "Logically a 10-ball was the design we wanted."

Well, logically to us pool players, right?!  :)

Turns out Brandon's family runs a sign and wrap company, so he hooked them up!  They got two decals created based off dimensions, and when the decals were ready, Brandon went over to do the install.

"With a blow dryer, a lot of patience, and business cards, we installed it together which was a really cool experience."

And they still have the other decal if this one gets too messed up.

"Brandon offered to do it for us, no charge, just looking forward to having a friend he can shoot pool with.  I believe everything happens for a reason, and divine meetings like this take place all the time."


Rather than spend hundreds of dollars to get it done at a place elsewhere, they had a chance meeting, talked about billiards, became friends, which set in motion for how Ezekiel got his 10 ball design.  "And Nicole and I gained a friend that likes billiards."

You can see in the photo above Zeke already likes billiards!  And, he watches tournaments streamed all the time with Dad, too.

Here is Zeke and his parents:




Thank you for sharing your story, Zeke, Nicole, Joseph, and Brandon!

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Publicizing Local Gambling Matches

I noticed that a pool room (Putters) in Las Vegas advertises matches on Facebook.  You might think, so what?  So do other people.  Well, what I find more interesting is their matches are showcased.

You see, sometimes matches are "announced" on Facebook, but no details are given.  I am sure there is a good reason for this.  But it never fails - people will ask who is playing, for how much, etc?  And instead of responses, we are Ghosted.

(damn, I hate being ghosted!)
"Ghosting. While this term is relatively new, the act of ghosting existed long before the dawn of the Internet. But what does it mean? Ghosting occurs when someone you're seeing suddenly stops making any contact, giving no signs at all that they're no longer interested."
And we aren't told who is playing or any details.  Just "big names" and "you don't want to miss it" so "come on out."  Well, crap, just tell me who is playing for how much and what is the race??

However!  Check out alternatively what Putters does: they create graphics for their match ups that contains photos, times, race, game, how much they are playing for, etc:




Now honestly, which advertising gets you more interested in the match ups?

I know - it all depends on who is playing if you want to traverse to the pool room to watch them gamble.  But at least we know who is gambling at Putters!  lol

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Too Much Love for Pool?

Okay, I think this might be over the top!

But, I suppose to die-hard pool fans, this is true love:


Friday, November 2, 2018

Increase Your Confidence During Adversity


Ha!

Isn't this true?

I really like this cartoon.  Proves what we all already know - we are our own worst enemy at times, right?  lol

So, when people try to bring us down or say negative things about us or our game, man go away!  We have enough going on in our own minds!

But it's a great opportunity to remind you of a post I wrote about back in 2014 about Facing Fear.  Well, should have worded it more positive, now that I just linked it to those two words haha.

But, the blog post is about how to overcome negative thoughts while we are competing and also how to increase our confidence during matches.  hmm, I see now that would have been too long of a title.  ;)  Oh, and that blog post has several links in it to other pieces I wrote about increasing our confidence and overcoming negative emotions.  I highly recommend the light reading if you have some time.

Enjoy!
 


Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Watching Smart, Correct Pool

I was watching the stream of the SidePocket Open at times this past weekend.  I know, I am shocked, too!  But, when I tuned in one time on Sunday, I noticed a guy on the table from a few months ago that I really liked his game.  He's the one I wrote about before from the previous SidePocket Open tournament where I diagramed his "correct" shot to move "into" his next ball.  Here is the link.

If you don't know already, the SidePocket Open is a big tourney held about 4 times a year in Shreveport, LA.  It's held on bar tables and gets some HEAVY hitters, along with the die-hard fans, and has a large Calcutta (two of them I believe).  I've never been, but have watched the results from afar for many years and it's a great tourney if you want to either get your feet wet with the big dogs, or you already are a big dog, lol.

So, this guy was fighting his way through the winner's side and when I noticed him on the stream a couple of times I would keep watching.  Why?  Because he chose the correct path on almost every shot.  Even if he happened to miss good shape, he would get back in line soon after.  Further, he safes were on point, AND his kicks were on point.  I'm not saying he played perfect, but it was a joy to watch him play because his shot selection was "correct."

Wait, what do you mean by "correct," Melinda?

Good question!

"Correct" means basically he plans for the next few shots by moving the cueball along the best, proper (more correct) path toward his next shot, to set him up for the shot after that (what I refer to as 3-ball shape).  It's basically good, solid, pattern play.

Also, he studied his options, he took his time, he walked around the table to ensure he was on the correct side for his next shots, and he played good, solid, smart pool.  It's the type of pool you want to watch, to help yourself.

I noticed a few guys he competed against played smart at times as well, but didn't keep it up the entire match.  Further, one opponent in particular got out of line a lot.  IMHO, he was not shooting the correct paths, and he was a shot maker and just making balls.  He kept getting out of line and then he couldn't get back in line.  Don't get me wrong, he still got out most of his games (and even won the match hill-hill), but it wasn't as fun for me to watch.


Now, don't think I'm being partial or playing favorites, it was just a fluke I tuned in when this guy was on the stream and then he played on the stream right up again.  I'm sure there are many other players who play smart and correct, I just didn't see them on the stream over the weekend because I only checked it a couple of times.

I'll be honest, I'd rather watch smart, "correct" pool all day long, not shot makers.  Sure, if you have your money on the shot makers, then you don't care how they are getting out as long as they are winning, right?  lol.  But I give lessons, and *I* was getting a lesson every game I watched the other guy.  And so it will help me when I help others.

Further, watching "correct" pool helps your own game.  As you have heard a million times already, watching pool improves your game.  But if you are just watching shotmakers, how is that helping you?  I mean, it DOES prove to you that you can make balls from anywhere (so don't be nervous if you get out of line), but I want to watch repetitive shot making from the correct side of the ball, I want to watch someone go the proper path to get on their shots, I want to watch someone take their time and walk around the table to see where they need to be, I want to watch someone stay down and follow through, I want to watch someone consistently shoot the correct or proper shot to get on their next ball.  Watching all of these key things repetitively will help us make better choices at the table, which in turn will help us win more games.  Watching a shotmaker wont help me win games.  Strategy, smart play, correct paths will!

Now, I'm not saying there are not different options to each shot.  We could have ten different players shoot one shot differently to get on the next ball.  But, most of the knowledgeable, seasoned players will shoot the same pattern to get to the next ball.

That's what we need to be striving for!

And that's why I loved watching this guy play "correct" pool.


Saturday, October 27, 2018

Are You Playing Too Slow?

I don't know if many players have gone through this in their pool journey, but I've noticed this in a couple of friends of mine so I thought that I would write about it.  If you are one of "these people," then the experience I share in this blog entry will be your friend and help you out!  :)

I remember there was a time in my pool journey when I played slow.  Well, let me be more clear... it's not that I played slow - it's that it took me awhile to make my decisions which looked to others like I was playing slow - like a sloth, lol!  But in reality, I was standing at the table looking at the layout and all the options that could possibly happen, thinking about what I should do, what was possibly best, and therefore it took me awhile to finally get down and shoot a shot.

I actually played like this for about nine months of my pool journey and that happened to tumble over into a nationals tournament in Vegas.

I was playing so slow, that it actually pissed off my scotch doubles partner!  I didn't know his personality, and he actually snapped at me in front of everybody about it.  Yea, that was a lot of fun.  NOT.

I asked one of my friends who is watching, "Hey, was I really playing that slow?"  You see, I didn't think I was!  And she confided, "Yeah, you really were. But what it looked like to me was you're standing up there and you don't really know what you should do, and that's why it's taking you so long to shoot."

Man, I had no idea I was taking that long.

And she was absolutely spot-on. And once I heard that, it actually help me to stop being so indecisive at the table.

You see, when we are learning a lot of things that get in our head that we didn't know before, it can slow down our decision process. And so there's a ton more new options that we didn't know before and so now we kind of stand there and wonder, "Uh, what I should shoot and what would be the best shot to take?"

Even though I still had some indecisiveness, because that doesn't go away completely right away, her pointing that out made me realize that I do need to make my choices faster.  Not that I do need to SHOOT faster, but have more confidence in my decision and the shot that I do choose so I can go for it.  The reason why I say this, is we could stand there for several minutes trying to decide what to do and in reality that doesn't help you, your percentage to win or help your opponent.

I actually believe that taking too long to make a decision can actually hurt our game.  Why?  Well, it throws off any rhythm we have.  If we go from normal shooting (whatever that is for you and I) to being super indecisive, that slows down your rhythm, which is detrimental to your game.

But, like I said, I think this might be part of most pool players' journey and so it's something that in time we eventually just stop standing up there at the table being indecisive.  So, don't fret if you do this right now!  Things will change for the better soon. :)

And I admit, when you find out people are getting upset or agitated because of how slow you play, you really don't want to keep being slow.  Yea, yea, I know some people think that it's a good thing to agitate your opponents lol, but in reality, a lot of us want to have a smooth match.  And if that means I stop playing sloth slow or being super indecisive, that will actually help me anyway, right?

I think if I hadn't asked my friend that and she wasn't honest, or that guy hadn't snapped at me, or our opponents didn't call a ref because I was playing so slow, I wouldn't have known that I had that issue.  I was in the moment and I'm standing up there just trying to make a good decision, not realizing how long it's actually taking me, lol.

So, obviously, unless someone tells you are playing super slow or you see yourself on a stream or some video tapes, you may not realize just how long you're taking at the table.  Now I'm not saying that you should rush through any of your decisions and that you should rush through any of your shots at all!  But what I am saying is there does come a point where we sometimes take too long in every single match with every single decision with every single shot. And when that happens, that's when you need to have some self-reflection and make a change. Because I promise you, when you do make the change (ie decide to accept your decision and be confident with your choice), I promise when you do this your game will actually go up.

Again, I'm not saying to rush your shots.  I'm not saying to rush your decisions.  But sometimes standing at a table looking at a layout for too long is something you should eventually try to get away from.

Again!  Your game is going to go up after you stop doing this.  Maybe it's because when we finally start making decisions, we are more confident in ourselves and with our choices.  And whether they're right or wrong, at least you're learning each time that happens instead of standing there wondering, "What the f*** should I do?!"  lol.

Enjoy peeps!  (but don't take too long)  lol


Thursday, October 25, 2018

Jerry Olivier Interview

The October issue of the magazine 'Billiard Buzz' is out and this month I interviewed custom cuemaker Jerry Olivier from Houston! You've seen his cues across the country, now meet the man behind them. 

I have to admit, I have wanted to interview Jerry from day one that I started doing interviews a couple of years ago.  There was one question I was curious about.  
"I heard a story a long time ago that it was your dream/passion to make cues. I heard you left your job to pursue that dream. Tell us about that."
Turns out it was a true rumor and he answers it for us in the interview. :)


Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Great Golf Advice from a Pitcher about Not Practicing

I know, I know, the subject of this blog post is interesting (or confusing, right?!  haha).

I have mentioned a few times now that I work on blog articles after work at my desk in my office.  Well, I took a much needed vacation the first full week of October.  So, that kept me from my office, right?  Then I was busy catching up at work and now I find myself with not many blog posts this month (October).  So, I'm trying to catch up and write several before the end of the month to meet my personal monthly quota lol (10-15 per month).

Where did I go for this much-needed, stress-free vacation?  Well, of course Vegas!  My fave city.  :)  I even saw a show this time.  Being that I have been to Vegas a lot, I have seen most shows, but this time my friend Robin and I went to see Barry Manilow.  It was a really great show and she and I had a great time!  Barry is now 75 years old, but you would never it know based on how he moves all around the stage, dancing and very active, for the entire full 2 hours of his show.  Heck, I lost close to 20 pounds before going to Vegas and he STILL had more energy than I did at 75.  Pretty impressive!


This time in Vegas, I actually found a boyfriend!  He wasn't very talkative, but we hit it off:



Don't be jealous!

hahaha.

I also used a new app called "Relive" and it's super cool!  It creates a video of hikes/runs/walks/biking/etc and puts your route on a google map, and you can also add photos along the way.  Here I am walking from the Peppermill to the Flamingo Casino along the Vegas Strip and here is another video when I walked from NYNY casino along the Vegas Strip back to the Flamingo.  It can show how many miles, how fast you went, and how long it took.  Pretty cool app, right?

So, I flew Southwest Airlines for the first time in about 15 years this trip to Vegas.  I normally fly American because DFW is a hub and that's who all my airline miles are with, lol.  But, it was about $200 cheaper with Southwest this time and therefore I found myself at a new airport (Love Field) and a new airline.  I normally watch the movies on AA through my tablet (if they don't have screens in the chairs) but because I hadn't flown SW in so long, I didn't know I needed to download their app to watch shows BEFORE I got on the plane.  Oopps!

However, always the prepared person that I am (smile) I brought along my ipod for music, sudoku puzzles and a magazine, "Golf."  I somehow have a subscription to Golf magazine, prolly from some online thing I signed up for and then got a free magazine.  I normally stop any free issues, but I have been sharing the mag each month with my coworkers.  However, I took this issue with me in case I needed some time to kill on my flights (SW had a layover on each leg of my flight - well, "stop over," not switching planes).

ANYWAY, lol.

Archie Bradley (pitcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks) was interviewed in the Golf magazine and I really enjoy when different sports and athletes cross each other in magazines or interviews or articles.
Towards the end of the interview he shared some great advice a golf pro shared with him.  And now I am sharing it with you all :)

Q:  What's the best advice you've received about your golf game?

Answer:
"I played with Lucas Glover, and he gave me a bit of advice.  He said, "Hey, man, you don't practice, so when you come out here don't expect to shoot a 75, because you're not good enough to shoot a 75.  If you shoot an 85, you shoot an 85."  Ever since then, I've loved golf 100 times more."

Great advice for our pool game, too, right?

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

PLEASE Re-Read "Play Your Best Pool" for 8 Ball Strategy

One of my clients (friends? students? - heck, I still don't know what to call them!), anyway, one of them reminded me of something very important that I would like to share today.

Basically, I was told they forgot some of the key things that we went over the times we practiced together.  As reminder, I don't talk about English or things like that or even how to hold a cue or bridge - what I do talk about is strategy and the why's of choices.

The reason I feel my clients' admission is important is because I erroneously thought that talking about strategy during the entire 4-5 practice sessions was enough to retain the information.  And I was wrong!  And then I remembered why (read below for the many examples).

I was thinking about writing about this last month, but I hadn't had a chance to yet, and then I noticed that fellow blogger Darius talked about something similar at the end of September.

Basically, he said he likes to reread his favorite books because he then remembers something he had forgotten:
"Once I realized that knowledge disappears quickly from our minds, I’ve been re-reading and studying at least one good book a week. We must arm ourselves against the challenge of life by repeating the things we learn so often that they become a habit."

I can completely relate to this and I wish I would have remembered it for my client, as well. I think if I did, I would have had more sessions with them.

The reason I say this is, the first time I read Phil Capelle's Play Your Best Pool, that was when I realized that there were so many aspects to the game of 8 ball that I knew NOTHING about.  And, I just didn't know that until I read his book. But, I didn't retain everything I read the first time I picked up the book.

Luckily for me, for whatever reason, I decided to reread the 8-ball section of Play Your Best Pool before every single state and National Tournament 8 ball tournament I played in.

And what transpired was every time I read it, I as reminded of things I had forgotten.  Further, my game would improve in between those big tournaments and then things would make more sense when I read his book again.  And then I'd read it again before the next big tournament and again realize I forgot a certain strategy or proper sequence of shots.  My client was right - we do forget things.

I promise you that I read the 8-ball section of Phil Capelle's Play Your Best Pool before every single 8 Ball State and 8-ball Nationals tournament for almost 10 years straight.


So for me to think that my client would pick up strategy in just a few sessions, even though some of the strategy was the same, was completely incorrect thinking on my part.

There's so much to learn about the game, and there's so much to learn about 8 ball, and there's so much strategy that can come up every time you play, that you actually can learn something new all the time, right?  Even before I retired from competing when I would watch 8 ball matches, I would still learn something.

There's so much to the strategy of 8 ball that it is important to go over certain things often and or to be reminded of those things.

The thing is, when I started to play pool the first 15 years of playing, I didn't know any strategy about 8 ball.  I would make my stripes or solids.  Simple as that.  NO, Melinda, not as simple as that!  lol.  Therefore, reading Phil's book one time wouldn't help me.  Heck, reading it 10 times wouldn't help me.  BUT - continually reading it a few times every year would definitely help me.

That's why it's actually key for my clients to keep learning somehow - either lessons with me or other people, watching videos, or simply talking about 8 ball matches with your friends to discuss all the options and the why's.

And of course the final, obvious suggestion is to read at least 1 time by the end of the year the 8 ball section of Phil's Play Your Best Pool, and then several times every year after that.  One thing I can guarantee is your game will not go down - it will go up. So the risk versus the reward is golden for you to read that section over and over every year throughout the year.

Darius added:
"...I forgot almost everything I learned more than a year earlier (of the book I read). And there’s no way you can remember even a quarter of a book you read three years ago."
Of course what I want to do is grab a hold of my clients and have a ton more sessions with them so I can personally help them remember.  But, since that isn't feasible (we all have to work at our day jobs, right?  lol), my advice is to AT LEAST re-read Phil's Capelle's 8 ball section of Play Your Best Pool at least 4 times a year.

I want to reiterate (see what I'm doing here?) that I didn't become an 8 ball champion overnight.  I didn't win my first 8 ball tournament overnight.  I didn't win my first 8 ball tournament after reading his book.  But! I did learn more and more each time I read that section of his book - because I either forgot some things, or because my game got better and things made more sense.  

One final tidbit - I didn't read word for word the entire section 4 times a year the last few years, but I would go over all the pages I starred, or dogeared, or the parts I highlighted - those are the things I would go over before big tournaments.

Give yourself an even better opportunity to do well in your 8 ball tournaments.  Understanding the strategy of 8 ball is a repetitive learning of new things and old.

If you don't even listen to anything I say in my blog, please at least take this advice to heart.  I promise it will help you.  And I don't make promises lightly!


Monday, October 22, 2018

New Relationships and Talent

I don't know if y'all have ever heard about this before, but there's some unwritten philosophy (or maybe there are a ton of technical papers written about this for all I know lol) that people feel if you find yourself in a new, strong relationship that it might affect whatever it is that's going well in your life.

Okay hang on with me people, hang on, lol!

Let me think of an example maybe you've heard before.  How about like.... a prodigy child who is amazing at music or the best baseball pitcher anyone has ever seen at 11 years old.  All of a sudden, they start to be interested in girls and then they are no longer focused on music or baseball. That's the only example I can think of right now.  Have you heard of something this before?  I sure hope so or you may think I'm off my rocker, lol.

And the point of this blog post is to share with you that this happened directly to me.

No, I wasn't a great pitcher or music prodigy (sorry to disappoint, lol), but in the mid-90s I started to date one of the top pool players in Texas.  His game was so good, people were talking about him all over the country.

However, when we first started going out, some of the guys in the pool room (which I feel they shouldn't have done this), told him that he should not go out with me. They told him that having a new girlfriend would be a distraction and it would affect his game (and all the work he put into it).

That actually caused him to have some doubt in our relationship, because there were these little voices chipping at his ear telling him their thoughts.

And you can understand that for someone who was top of his game, when he would play badly all of a sudden or not finish well, he wondered, "Are those guys right?  Should I not be with her?"

And as you can imagine, when you have that much skill and when you're that talented and you're all of a sudden at the top of your game and finishing well in almost all of the big tournaments you're playing in, and you're all of a sudden all over the magazines, the one thing you don't want to do is derail that.  Especially since playing pool was his dream.

I'm not saying I wasn't worth it, but even I would say I wouldn't want to get in the way of his dream career.

We eventually would break up a couple of times while we were together for 5 years and part of the reason was because I was a very immature girlfriend.  But, the other part of it was because it did seem like I was affecting his game.  At first it was because he wanted to be a good boyfriend and didn't want to travel and be away from me, but eventually it was because I wasn't a mature enough girlfriend for him at the time.

You see, I wasn't a strong woman in my late 20s.  I was also still treating people like I was treated growing up in a verbally abusive house - I yelled, instead of talked when I was upset.  I was also extremely jealous.  And being that I didn't understand most of the emotions I was feeling, I overreacted with crying and getting upset at him.  Not realizing that I had a ton of inner turmoil and learning to do to become the stronger, more mature, happier, and confident woman who is typing this out today.


I'm lucky that he was SO talented that he kept playing top-notch pool - heck, he even skyrocketed to 2nd place in rankings on the pro tour while we were together!  (so, I couldn't have been that bad of an influence, right?  lol.)  While I didn't necessarily affect his game detrimentally the entire time we were together, I do admit that if I had been a more mature, more understanding, less emotional girlfriend, he might have won even more tournaments - instead of trying to play his best pool while having to deal with a crying girlfriend back home lol who was overacting about stupid shit.

But, this blog isn't about me crying or being a bad girlfriend - that's for another time, right? haha - but what I am saying is I have experienced directly the affect a new relationship can have on someone who's very talented.

But, what if I had been a strong girlfriend? What if I wasn't so emotional and unconfident? Yep, I still think I would have affected his game somehow.  I'm not saying every new relationship affects a young music or sports prodigy, but what I am saying is having a new, deep relationship for the first time in your life does cause a certain amount of distraction. It's a normal thing, really.  And that's why all the Mom's and Dad's want their kids to stay far away from the opposite sex for as long as they can lol.  How many kids do you know who were on their way to college and got derailed because they "fell in love."

His friends were correct. I distracted him from playing top-notch pool like he had been playing before he met me. But again, he was talented enough to overcome the obstacles, still became a top pro, and is still today, actually.  Thank goodness!


Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Distractions May Shark

I think I've written about this before, but wanted to shed a little light on something that can potentially shark me.  Maybe you can relate?

Some tournaments have scorecards to keep the score, while others use coins, and yet other tournaments have score sheets you fill out to mark each game.  Whatever scoring apparatus is used, most fans cannot see the score of the match from every vantage point in the room.

Yet, so many people, friends, fans, potential future opponents, etc want to know your score.  And when they cannot see the score, they either walk over to check it out, or send someone over to read the score.

Either way, this is actually something that used to shark me. Let's be honest, checking the score isn't as simple as slyly walking by.  The person sometimes has to step in front of the score card, or bend their body around to see where the coin is, or has to read the paper scoresheet that is sitting on the table between the players.  It's pretty obvious when we are playing matches when people check the score.

I know it sounds kind of outrageous, but if I'm losing badly and then I see someone check the score, it can make my embarrassment factor go up.  And if I'm winning and someone checks the score, I can sometimes get overconfident.  And finally, sometimes the score doesn't even matter - and instead, I become distracted by a person all of a sudden in the area of my match checking out the score - and that distraction can interfere with my rhythm at the table.

You all can relate to one or all of these, right?

(gosh I hope so, or else I sound pretty weak, lol!)


This is part of what I've been talking about lately - that if you have a strong mental game or you are in the zone, someone checking the score won't even bother you.  Heck, you may not even notice!

Eventually, things like this didn't bother me, as my mental game got stronger and stronger, but I admit it took a long time to get there in my pool journey.

You have to be in a good mental spot or you have to already know to not to let things like this bother you to help you become less distracted by things.

Wait, how do I not let things bother me, Melinda?

Good question!

Well, personally, one of the things that helped me was when I finally came to the realization that some things are just facts. And facts aren't normally tied to emotion.  The score doesn't represent if someone likes me or dislikes me, or judges me, or thinks I should win, or anything like that. If you look at it as it is, which is really just a score of a stupid game we love (lol), it wont affect you as much.

It's kind of hard to explain, but if you accept something as a fact, you're less likely to react to it, right?

Instead of wondering what they're thinking and why and starting to add doubt or anxiety into your head, just think to yourself, "Well... that.is.the.score."

Everyone has something that sharks them more than other things. Some people don't want you moving around, some people want you sitting at all times, some people don't want you to talk to them during the match, some people don't want you to talk to the crowd, others hate when you use your phone in a match etc..

There's always one thing that kind of rubs us the wrong way - and it's different for each person.

Mine happened to be people checking the score.

But!  Because I'm not competing anymore, you can't use this against me when I'm playing, LOL.  :)


Friday, October 5, 2018

Diagram of an Important Shot

I was watching a stream a couple of months ago.  Mostly because I was trying to see someone in the crowd, lol, not because I am still interested in watching pool.  Don't be shocked, friends!

But I'm glad I tuned in, though, as a great benefit came out of that.

I was watching a young player, I think from Mexico, who kept running racks.  I noticed he was deep in the tourney, and also the player he was beating was a top player, so I already knew he could play just based on the unexpected score of a guy I've never heard of, lol.

What I am about to point out is something I didn't learn for the first 15 years of playing pool.  I want to stress that this is VERY important, yet I had never been shown, told, or knew this for the first 15 years.

Now, I'm not saying it propelled me straight to earning trophies my very next tournament, but what it did do was give me a much better appreciation for the decision for shape and it DID help me immensely.  It makes so much sense and has helped me out so much, I sure wish I knew this earlier than 15 years into my pool journey, lol.

I remember distinctly I was just hitting a rack of 9 ball at Rusty's in Arlington one afternoon and one of the top players says, after I shoot the 8 ball, "Hey, why not shoot the 8ball instead like this, so the cue ball can come "into" the 9 ball."  And then he showed me what he meant.  My boyfriend at the time was standing there and he didn't say anything, but a HUGE lightbulb showed up above my head.  Ahhhhhhh!   HUGE learning experience.

And, when I saw this particular shot on the stream, it reminded me of that day about 7 years ago, and I have been itching to share this with you all!

So, as I hope you all do, too, as I was watching the stream, I think about what I would do or what I should shoot or how, while watching them play.

So, the guy gets to something like this:





And I presume he's going to either stun back for the 7 ball or go to the rail and come back to where he is about in a straight line with the 7 ball.




And then he would just draw back for the 9 ball.



But!  He surprised me and did something else.  Before you scroll more, what other option would you do?  Or, would you do the way I envisioned?
















Don't cheat!  What would you do?

















Okay....



So what he did was just as I described in the intro about "coming into the next ball."  (that I had obviously forgot about lol.)  There are several benefits to this I will mention below, but let's see what he did that was smarter than my initial thoughts, too:



Instead of getting straight on the 7 ball to draw back for the 9 ball, he instead got UNDERNEATH the 7 ball to give him a good angle, something like this:


He then made the 7 ball and the cueball went to the top rail, side rail, and then down toward the 9 ball (ie, INTO the next ball).


I can't recall exactly where the balls were, but you get the drift of what I'm trying to show I hope.

"Coming into the next ball" is a more NATURAL way to get position.  Further, let's look at pros and cons:

Cons if you try and get straight on the 7:

  • You may not get straight in the 7 ball and then have to maneuver the cue ball more than you expected.
  • Drawing from the 7, you could over draw or under draw and then have a tough shot on the 9
  • Or, drawing from the 7 you could even scratch in the side.

Pros of going three rails Into the 9ball:

  • Less chance of scratching
  • You have an entire area to shoot from as the cueball moves down the table, for a good shot on the 9ball
  • Shooting 3 rails to get to the 9ball is a NATURAL pattern.  Drawing is not really a natural flow.  You aren't forcing anything or risking with draw, it's all natural rolling of the cueball.
  • It's much easier to control a 3-rail shot than it is draw.  
  • You have a larger area for the cue ball if it's going INTO the 9 ball.  With draw, the area to shoot from is much smaller.
Coming into the 9 ball like this guarantees you shape on the 9 ball.  Drawing is risky and doesn't guarantee you anything.

Sure, drawing it doesn't mean you will lose or miss, right?  BUT - going three rails ensure you will have a good shot left for the 9 ball. 

I'm probably not stating this all correctly, easy, or using the correct vernacular, but I hope my points came across.  

If you don't believe me....how about you set this shot up and try each way 10 times each.  See which one you can get on the 9 ball easiest, which gives you better shape, and which one gives you more confidence.

I bet I know the answer already!

ENJOY!!  

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Reflections - Project Hunger Games

I wrote recently about expectations that Katniss had going into some matches of a recent tournament for her.  If you haven't read it yet, I'll wait here while you catch up.




You back?

Okay...

What I liked best about our discussion on this topic was I did not point out to Katniss that she might have lost those two matches due to her expectations. That's what she told me.

What I love about this is she is self reflecting after her matches.

This actually brings up a really good point that I don't know if I've reiterated enough yet (lol), but if you reflect after every single match why you won or lost (heck, maybe even write down why - I know blasphemy!) it will take you to the next level so much faster than if you never evaluate yourself.

Some people just go to a tournament, wish they would have won a match or two, or maybe lost and just don't even think about it again.

But I promise you if you do some self reflection after every match and you seriously be honest with yourself why you lost or won, that right there is a huge learning experience that you will put inside your toolbox that will help you and your future matches.

I PROMISE.

Let's compare it to something fun.

It's football season so let's compare it to that.

Last weekend the Dallas Cowboys hosted the Detroit Lions.  If you didn't see the game, then you didn't see one of the Defensive coach's pissed and throwing his arms in the air mad at his guys because they missed a block and gave up a touch down for the Lions.

But was also shown was he had his clipboard and tablet and he was showing them missed plays, plays they could do when they go back in, and positions on the field that would work better for them to succeed.

There is actually A LOT of times the coaches go over plays and instructions with the players during the game.  See this video clip and check out at times 1:20, 1:40, 2:30 and 2:50:




Further, we all can picture the entire team in the locker room days after the game going over scenarios from last weeks' game, and also the upcoming game.  They do this for EVERY SINGLE game.

This is a great example of why it's important for us little ole pool players to act like a professional football player - learning from every match we play!

Why did we win?  Why did we lose?  Why did my opponent end up coming back on me and I lost the lead and the match?  How did I overcome being down 0-5 and won 7-5?  Why did I get distracted?  What could I have done different?  How did I make that tough shot under pressure?

I could list 1,000 more questions for you, but I'll stop there :)

The point is, how do we ever learn and improve if we don't self reflect?

Ironically, I wrote a blog post about reflecting for the "Danielson Series," too.

Peeps - one of the best teachers is the experience - but not if we don't think about the whys of the wins and losses!

Let me state again that we all know we learn the MOST from our losses.  However, don't forget your wins!  Those are learning lessons as well.  And each lesson we put in our toolbox for the next tournament.

I eluded to writing them down and I'm not joking.  My paper notes transitioned to paper diary to this blog because I wanted to capture what happened.  What I didn't know was, I my learning was entrenched more because I wrote down what happened in all my matches.  Reflecting turned out to be an amazing part of my learning process, but writing them down propelled the learning process.

REFLECT!

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Expectations by Katniss

One of the main things I disliked about competing was those damn expectations.

Expectations has been my Achilles heel for sure!

When you play someone you've beat 10 times the last 10 times you played, then you let your guard down and don't play your best when you play them again, right?  Then what happens?  They beat you!  All because you expected to win.

And that really stings.

Or, how about when you are still in the winner's side on Saturday night going into the tournament on Sunday?  The expectations you have for yourself of doing well (or scared you wont do well) affect you.  Or, how about the thoughts you have of others and their expectations of you?  OMG why do we put ourselves through this trauma!?  lol

These thoughts get in the way of us performing our best pool.

I wrote about this before, but when I was going to be playing for the hot seat the next day of a National 8-ball tournament for ACS in Vegas, I freaked myself out. When I got to my hotel room, it hit me - "omg, tomorrow I will play for the hot seat and I could be a national champion!"  I immediately started to shake and got nervous - and I wasn't even going to play until 24 hours later!

Golf and pool truly are mental sports. We can let our thoughts get away from us and then that ruins any semblance of a stroke, or we can try to tame our thoughts.

As I wrote about the other day, being mentally strong takes experience and takes putting yourself in numerous situations that make your mental toughness strong.

Just a mere two years after that debacle of not even being able to make three balls in a row because I was so nervous of the possibility of becoming a national champion and not staying in the moment, I would find myself in the finals of ACS 9-ball Nationals in Vegas.

My mental game was pretty extraordinary at that time (in my opinion) and I had no worries, concerns, or expectations.  I was thinking only in the moment completely and I simply played pool and double dipped my opponent in the finals to become a national champion!

I share that story to show you that any and all invisible expectations CAN be overcome with time, practice and experience.  I even wrote after that win, "I know in my heart that that experience two years ago of me falling apart helped me WIN the 2014 ACS Nationals Women's 9-Ball Singles event this year."

….Eeeek.….

Oh shit!

This blog post is suppose to be about Katniss, not me, so let me get on topic here, lol.  :)

Katniss played in a tournament a couple weekends ago.  She shared with me about her two losses, "In my defensive they are both great players...but I have beat them both before. So I guess I EXPECTED to beat them again."

So, she wasn't playing as tough because she expected to win again.  Doesn't this resonate with you all?!  Damn expectations lol.  She didn't have the attitude to beat her opponent 7-0 or to squeeze them like a boa constrictor (btw, this is a reference from the book Winning Ugly that I highly and always recommend), instead she played both girls on expectations instead of focusing on the game in front of her.

I'm going to sound like a broken record, but if you focus on your pre-shot routine, three balls ahead, and you stay down and follow through - there's no room in your brain to be thinking of expectations or worries or distractions. (btw, this is one of the most helpful tips I ever received in my pool journey!) It doesn't mean you're always going to win, but you're going to give yourself the best chance to win.

I've been in Katniss's situation a thousand times it seems like, and it's so frustrating to accept that the reason why you lost a match was because of the way you were thinking - not because of the way you were playing.

I appreciate her opening up to me about this, as it gives me a chance to remind folks to stay in the moment and don't think ahead and don't have any expectations (good or bad).  Remember, if you are thinking, you aren't playing pool.


Monday, September 24, 2018

Danielson - Back in the Game

So, Danielson has been playing pool a little bit more than what he was before. I mentioned that thing called grownup responsibilities (ie, "life") kept him from being able to play and focus on pool like he did in the past. But, as most people who take a little step away finds out, we never really lose the desire to play and therefore it came back to Danielson, as well.  Yay!

He played in a tournament a couple of weekends ago and of course the first thing I asked him (kinda interrogating, oops) was, "So, uh, do you have your checklist?"  As I've said a million times in my blog (I could be exaggerating again), reading the reminders on your checklist before every tournament or every match will really help you. And because Danielson hadn't been playing or competing in several months, reviewing his checklist would really be beneficial for him.

He said the checklist was in his case still, so that was good news.  I honestly do not know if he took it out and actually took a peek at it or not, though.  But, I can be hopeful because at least it was on his persons, right, lol, and not lost or forgotten.

He provided an update a few days after the tourney and he said he had lost his first match, but it was really close.  He shared that overall he played well, but he missed late in the rack a few times.  He thinks because he lost focus.

This is actually something I've been trying to explain what I have personally "lost" by not competing anymore.  Strong and solid fundamentals help us make the balls in front of us, but our strong fundamentals do not help our mind from wandering, getting distracted, or thinking of other things.

Eventually, what you all will find (if you haven't already) is the more often you compete, the stronger your mental toughness becomes. The brain is a muscle, too, and when you play in a lot of tournaments, that muscle (the brain) gets stronger and stronger.  You will find that you are more mentally prepared for each future tournament because of this.

However, when you don't compete often, then that muscle acts like any other muscle you aren't strengthening and therefore it may not show up well in a match for you.

While taking a break is sometimes very good for your game, if the break is too long (I'm talking 6 months or a few years or more), when you come back you're not as mentally strong as you used to be.  Good thing for us tho, because the brain is a muscle, putting time and effort working on it will strengthen it again.

I want to reiterate your fundamentals will still be there if you had a strong, solid fundamental pre-shot routine before your "break." What I recognized in myself was my fundamentals were still very strong and so I played pretty sporty the few times that I picked up a cue and hit a rack or two. But as soon as I competed, the pressure got to me and I couldn't play well or perform my best. So, it's not my physical skills that have gone down, it's my mental toughness that isn't as strong as it used to be.

So, Danielson told me without even prodding from me (ah, Grasshopper!), that what he needs to do is practice a little more maybe with some cheap gambling sets so that he can work on his focus which in turn will strengthen his mental toughness that is currently just locked away, but ready to come out.

I'm excited he's playing again! I just hope that he doesn't get frustrated with the process to get back into competition form and decide to throw his cues in the trash LOL. I'm just kidding - I doubt he would do that.  But my point is it can get frustrating when your game isn't where it used to be and it takes patience while you wait for it to come back.

But, if Tiger Woods can do it, so can Danielson ;)



Saturday, September 22, 2018

More Talk on American Billiard Radio

Mike Howerton asked me to join him on American Billiard Radio last week and of course I obliged. You all know me - Imma ham!  haha

I'm used to being on the podcast for only a segment of the show;  Mike and I talk about a topic, maybe two. This time I was informed right before we started that I would be the only guest for the entire show!

What??  

Did that startling info rattle me right before he hit that "record" button?  Aw, heck no!  I mean, who wouldn't want to talk about themselves for an hour, right?  Not this chick.  lol.

Our discussion ranges from Serena Williams to why I didn't turn pro to the weather (yes really!) to Katniss and Danielson (the two special sections in my blog) to verbal abuse as a Tournament Director to green fees to playing in tougher tournaments.

Mike REALLY keeps me on my toes and keeps it engaging the entire time.  I had no idea we talked for an entire hour, I just keep yakking like I can do sometimes :)

Here is the link if you want to kill some time and hear Mike and I discuss all sorts of things related to pool.


Friday, September 21, 2018

Shannon Daulton Interview

Had another great interview this month for Billiard Buzz!  Gosh I really love doing interviews.

Shannon Daulton! I was so ecstatic he said yes to being interviewed, as I've been following his success for YEARS. I know you all will enjoy getting to know Shannon more, just like I did. It was such a treat working with him!

Here is the link to the awesome interview: https://issuu.com/azbilliards/docs/september_2018/12


Enjoy!

Friday, September 14, 2018

More Tips for Your Tool Box - Understanding Personalities

I know I write about personalities a lot in my blog, but I strongly believe if you not just comprehend different personalities, but realize how they can affect you directly when you're competing, it will give you an advantage over your opponents.  And as you all know, I love it when you all add more tools to your toolbox!

I'm sure a lot of you have heard of Myers-Briggs. I have written about it a couple of times myself.

Long story short,
The Myers–Briggs Type Indicator is an introspective self-report questionnaire with the purpose of indicating differing psychological preferences in how people perceive the world around them and make decisions.
Leadership books teach us you shouldn't treat someone as you would want to be treated.  Instead, you find out their personality (or Myers-Briggs Type) and then treat them based on that.

I realize as I write this out that some of you will be surprised to hear this because it goes against what we've heard for years, "you should treat people how you want to be treated."  But, nope, that isn't really the best thing to do.

So, let me give you one example I can think of right off the top of my head. If you are a supervisor and one of your employees gets an award, how do you give them that award? Myers-Briggs says based on their personality determines how you should give them the award. Some people are fine with getting an award in front of others; they like the accolades and they like being respected by their peers. Other people, however, do not like the attention and they would prefer to get the award handed to them maybe in their office, so as it's not in front of everyone drawing attention to them.

You can see the opposite ways people handle accolades. So, if you were to treat others as you want to be treated, the way you give the award would based on your feelings, not theirs. What you should do instead is to find out how best they would like to receive an award.

So, how does this all relate to competing, Melinda?

I'm glad you asked!

Well, if you're lucky enough to be aware of or already know an opponents' personality ahead of time, then when you play them you can use that knowledge to not let their reactions or emotions bother you.  Let me be specific.  Extroverts can be loud, talk a lot, verbally show their emotions when they are upset (or happy) and those things can be distractions.  Many of us assume they are directing their words directly at us personally.  But in reality, that's just the way they are.  It's not personal.  It's not directed towards you, they are just that way all the time.

Therefore, knowing that their actions/words are not personal to you is a huge advantage.  It will allow you to focus on playing your best, instead of stealing mental energy away from you by getting upset because they are talking too much or you think they are upset with you personally.

Myers-Briggs will also tell us if I, you, or others are a "feeler" or a "thinker."  If you play someone who is a feeler and you upset them, their reaction is going to be completely different than someone who is a thinker.  Thinkers don't usually take things personal and don't think about the issue again.  Feelers will hold on to even the slightest bothersome thing and let it affect them.

Again - how does this help you?  This helps you because if someone reacts in a certain way it's usually not because of something you have done, but it's more so their personality that brings out their attitude.

Some people can be extremely mad on the inside, but you'll never see it on the outside because they just don't show it. But if they do show it, and you know they are an extrovert or a feeler, then you can use that as a tool to not react to how they are acting, realizing that this is just their personality.

I hope this helps you in your pool journey, peeps!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Does Added Money Deter You?

I was pretty shocked last year when a pro player was in the area for a funeral. No...I wasn't shocked he was in town for the funeral, but I was shocked what I heard him say about a potential tournament he could play in.

He was asking about tournaments in Texas that we're coming up for the weekend and I found one flyer on my phone and showed it to him.  It happened to be a really big tournament, which is right down his alley because he is a top Pro.

He looked at the flyer and immediately said, "They're not really adding a lot of money - the flyer implies that, but the added money is just coming out of the large green fees.  It's not worth it for me to go."

So, I tried to find another tournament for him. I did find another flyer and he looked at it and he exclaimed, "Hey, no large green fees and true added money- I'll go to that one."

I have two thoughts about this.

What I think is pretty sad is the state of pool.  It's so bad Pros have to decide if they can attend a tournament or not based on how large the green fees are compared to the added money. Golf and Tennis players don't have to even worry about stuff like that - but pool Pros do because there's just simply not enough money in our sport for them.

The other thought I have is about us amateurs.

Amateurs don't think of things like this. Most of the amateurs I know just want to experience lots of different tournaments, experience new places to play, experience competing against people that maybe we wouldn't normally get to play, etc.  When we look at a flyer of a pool tournament we are interested in, the last thing on our mind is, "What is the green fee and are they adding good money?"  We just want to play pool!  We just want to compete!  So, us amateurs are actually pretty lucky we don't worry about such things.  Why?  Because we aren't hitting the pavement trying to make a living at playing pool like the pros, so we can just go and enjoy playing in any tournament we wish to play in (well, if we can afford the expenses, of course).

In all my years of playing pool, I hadn't heard a player state it wasn't worth it for them to play in a certain tournament because of the reasons this guy said.  It really took me aback.  But, I suppose it does make sense.  As long as they have options of different events, the pros almost need to choose the ones that have better added money and less green fees.


Friday, September 7, 2018

Maria Ho Advice - To Play Your Best

You all know I love to compare sports.  Well, today is no exception!

Recently at Winstar Casino (located on the border of OK/TX) the poker room held their annual River Poker Series.  It's their largest poker event of the year and it lasts about the full month of August and ends with the big poker event over Labor Day Weekend.

Several top pro poker players play in it, and that includes Maria Ho.


She was also signed on this year as their Celebrity Spokesperson.  So, she was on their Instagram page in different areas of the casino for a couple of weeks.  Then I noticed a Q and A session with her.  One question and answer reminded me exactly of our parallel sport (pool), so wanted to share!

Q:  What is the most frustrating thing for you at a table from your table mates? Too much talk, too little talk, not enough room, body odor? I personally get frustrated when someone reeks of smoke or body odor. Thoughts? 
A:  I mean B.O. can be a little rough especially if you couple that with not enough room to hide from it! ? Otherwise I try not to let myself get too frustrated at the poker table because that could be detrimental to my ability to play my best.
I love her answer!

As you all can attest, I actually state quite frequently in my blog about not letting things distract us that can get in the way of us playing our best pool. And she used almost those exact words!  And I will add a reminder, once you figure out there are many things you can't control around you, then that allows for you to focus back on playing your best.  "Give yourself the best chance to play your best."  I should put that on a shirt!  lol.  Too much?

Thank you for reinforcing my favorite advice, Maria!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Distractions - Project Hunger Games

Katniss (of the Project Hunger Games series of my blog) recently told me a disheartening story that happened during one of her recent tournaments.

She was playing a match and on another table a verbal altercation started between two players.  She lamented, "I know I shouldn't have let is bother me and distract me..."

I kinda cut her off (sorry, Katniss!) and told her that while yes we can try to not let things bother us, this was a different situation where we can't help but be distracted.

You see the two players argued for quite some time and were loud.  Katniss had to go to the tournament directors (TDs) (who were watching the altercation, not doing anything about it) and had to ask them if they could handle the situation because it was so disruptive to the matches going on.

I admit I have seen this a lot.

And what people don't realize is, altercations between two players distracts all the matches around them as well.  It's disruptive and therefore causes other players to lose their focus, it interrupts their rhythm, and interferes with their concentration.

However, I do admit that in order to resolve the conflict means more distraction because TDs normally address the situation/players at their table which means other matches around them are still affected until it's resolved.

BTW, Katniss was able to regroup and win her match.  Yay!

And this is a great reminder!  Remember that there are a ton of things that can happen unexpectedly during a tournament that you cannot control.  And being able to refocus is key.  I have written about both of those things a lot, and although it's unfortunate Katniss had to go through that situation during her tournament, I selfishly am glad because it provides me the perfect opportunity to remind you peeps of these two important things that will help you in tournaments.  :)

1.  Things will happen you don't have control over and try to not let them bother you.
2.  Getting distracted is normal.  Refocusing is the key for all great athletes.


Sunday, September 2, 2018

Everything is Pool Related

I went to Lake Charles, LA last week for work.  While there, I captured a good shot of the National Weather Service Doppler Radar in Lake Charles, LA:



I posted that photo on my Facebook page and there were several general comments about it.  And then here comes Mike Page, "Here, let me fix that for you, Melinda."  And then he posted this, LMAO:


Red circle cueball, anyone?  Hysterical!